Thursday, 13 June 2013

Remembering the Battle of Mount Tumbledown




The Battle of Mount Tumbledown was an engagement in the Falklands War, one of a series of battles that took place during the British advance towards Stanley.On the night of 13 June – 14 June 1982, the British launched an assault on Mount Tumbledown, one of the highest points near the town of Stanley, and succeeded in driving Argentinian forces from the mountain. This close-quarters night battle was later dramatised in the BBC film Tumbledown.

The attacking British forces consisted of the 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards (2SG), mortar detachments from 42 Commando, Royal Marines and the 1st Battalion, 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles, as well as support from a troop of the Blues and Royals equipped with two Scorpion and two Scimitar armoured vehicles. The Argentinian forces defending the mountains were Commander Carlos Robacio's 5th Marine Infantry Battalion (BIM 5).

Prior to the British landings, the Argentinian marine battalion had been brought up to brigade strength by a company of the Amphibious Engineers Company (CKIA), a battery of the 1st Marine Artillery Battalion (BIAC), and three Tigercat SAM batteries of the 1st Marine Anti-Aircraft Regiment, as well as a heavy machine-gun company of the Headquarters Battalion (BICO).

As part of the British plan, the 1st Battalion the 7th Gurkha Rifles (1/7 GR) was given the task of capturing the sub-hill of Mount William held by O Company, the 5th Marine Battalion's reserve, and then allowing the Welsh Guards through to seize Sapper Hill, the final obstacle before the town of Stanley. The attack was supported by naval gunfire from HMS Active's 4.5 inch gun.

At the time of the battle, N Company held Mount Tumbledown. Mount William was just south of Tumbledown and the Marine battalion's O Company was on its lower slopes. B Company 6th Regiment was in reserve behind N Company. M Company occupied Sapper Hill. The Argentinian defenders held firm under the British 'softening up' bombardment, which began at 7:30 local time. As Major Oscar Jaimet recalled in Razor's Edge: The Unofficial History of the Falklands War (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006), I heard the cries of the wounded calling for their comrades, twelve men wounded before nightfall. We thought we had suffered before, but what luxury and comfort compared to this.
During the battle, the 5th Marines Command Post took five direct hits, but Commander Robacio emerged unscathed.Read More  HERE